MOLINE, Ill. — For many people outside of the area, the Quad Cities is a bit of an enigma. Boasting five cities — we won’t go in to which five cities as that’s an area of contention for locals — the Quad City area rests on the banks of the Mississippi River where the water flows east to west. One city, Moline, home to the Quad City Storm, is also home to the international headquarters of John Deere. Across the Mighty Mississippi, Bettendorf, Iowa, is home to the National Dekhockey Association 3-vs-3 (NDA).
The NDA is a member of the World Ball Hockey Federation (WBHF), based in Bratislava, Slovakia, since 2016. The NDA’s founding member is Quad City Dekhockey, founded in 2012. QC Dekhockey originated from Patrik Levesque, former Quad City Mallard, from his hometown of Trois-Rivieres, Quebec. Two other cities have joined the NDA in recent years, as there is now both Waterloo (Iowa) Dekhockey and Springfield (Illinois) Dekhockey.
The NDA has sent a men’s national team to the 3-vs-3 World Championships twice so far, but have yet to medal in either appearance. The highest rank achieved by the men’s team was fourth place in 2016, when the tournament was held in Montreal, Quebec. Last year, when the Championship was in Bratislava, Team USA captured seventh place out of eleven teams.
This year, the WBHF has initiated a Juniors 3-vs-3 World Championship in two age groups — U19 and U17. The Team USA staff has several familiar names for Quad City fans. As previously mentioned, Patrik Levesque serves as President of the teams, while his brother Nicola Levesque is the head coach and assistant general manager. Nicola signed with the Quad City Storm on July 7 and appeared in the preseason game against the Peoria Rivermen on October 3rd, but was cut at the end of training camp on October 17. John Scully, Storm forward, is also on the recruiting staff of the national team. The Chicago-area native is no stranger to the Quad Cities even before signing with the Storm last summer, as he had subbed on various teams at QC Dekhockey dating as far back as spring of 2016, even winning the D1 Summer Tournament with the Dekheads this past July.
Heading further back into the annals of Quad City hockey history, Mickey Lang is also part of the team staff as part of scouting/player recruitment. Lang had appeared at the then-named iWireless Center for two seasons beginning in 2011, playing in near all the games of the now-defunct Central Hockey League. Player recruitment is easy for the former forward, as he served as head coach and general manager with the Tier-II Tahoe Icemen of the Western States Hockey League between 2016 and 2018. The former ECHL Most Valuable Player is perhaps the most western scout, but the most widely recognized name on the eight-man list of scouts and recruiters is Alain Savage Jr, who has served as head bench boss with the East Texas Baptist University Tigers since August 2017.
Both of the junior national teams that will be sent to Montreal this year consist of players from four states — Iowa, Illinois, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. The U19 team has two more players rostered, but there is a four-player overlap between that team and the U17 squad. Luke Wareham, Gabriel Barrera, Joe Melillo, and Mike Marchese appear on both squads. These 26 junior players and the coaching staff will face other teams from six different countries — Canada, Sweden, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Pakistan, and Italy. The U17 team will not face Sweden or the Czech Republic, however, as those two nations did not register a team in that age bracket.
Canada will have two representatives at the 3-vs-3 Junior Dekhockey World Championships, as there is a team hailing from Quebec as well as a team bearing the red and white maple leaf for Canada. Both the teams based north of the US-Canada border will appear in each age bracket this tournament.
The 3-vs-3 Junior Dekhockey World Championships will take place June 26-30 in Montreal, QC. Keep your eyes peeled on @SinBinStorm for the latest news about Quad City professional hockey the Storm all summer and all season long.